Health Form  |  What happens on your trip to the dentist

Your child should visit the dentist by his/her 1st birthday. You can make the first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. Your child should be informed of the visit and told that the dentist and his staff will explain all procedures and answer any questions. The less to-do concerning the visit, the better.

It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as needle, pull, drill or hurt. The office makes a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.

Parents are welcome to accompany their child through the dental visit.  If your child is over the age of 3, however, we recommend that you allow them to accompany our staff through the dental experience.  Studies and experience have shown that most children over the age of 3 react more positively when permitted to experience the dental visit on their own and in an environment designed for children.

We strive to make each and every visit to our office a fun one!



Office Hours:
Monday: 9am - 5pm
Tuesday/Wednesday: 10am - 6pm
Saturday: 8am - 1:30pm
Thursday/Friday/Sunday: Closed

For your convenience when visiting our office, please print the New Patient Health History Form, complete the information and bring it with you to your first visit.

What happens on Your Visit to the Dentist

Under one year of age

Your baby will be seated in mom or dad’s lap and a visual examination of the teeth and oral cavity will be done including teeth, tongue, lips, cheeks, palate, and tonsillar area. Discussion about recommended oral hygiene and diet, pacifier/finger habits, and any other concerns of the parent will be addressed. There is no charge for a well-baby examination prior to the child’s first birthday. A terry cloth finger cot (Tender) will be provided at no charge as our contribution to your child’s oral hygiene. Unfortunately we are unable to offer this service for children covered by the Illinois “All Kids” kid care program.

1-2 years of age

One year to two years of age, a similar examination will be conducted, and the teeth present will be cleaned and have a topical fluoride applied to strengthen the teeth. If in the rare occurrence that pathology is detected or suspected, a dental radiograph may be recommended to provide a complete diagnosis. As our office uses digital radiography, at a fraction of the dose of conventional dental x-rays, the diagnostic benefit will well outweigh the risk.

2-3 years of age

From Two to three years of age, again a comprehensive examination will be done, and depending on the child’s ability to cooperate and the benefit that may be gained by complete information from dental radiographs, one (upper anterior), two (upper and lower anterior) or four (anterior and two cavity detecting <bitewing> radiographs may be recommended. Just as for your child’s physician, the additional diagnostic tool of digital radiography may be necessary to allow a complete diagnosis to be accomplished. Children are always covered with a lead apron prior to any radiography.

3 years and above

Above three years of age, we ask that your child accompany our staff thru the dental experience. There is a parent’s seating area “the bench” in the operatory area so you may view the exam or treatment, however we ask that you remain seated and not speak to the child which will distract from our attention to them and their attention to us. While we understand that parents want to reassure their child, and perhaps calm them, please let us direct the amount of parental involvement necessary. Dr. Kenney and his staff have many years of experience treating children, and can pretty well read a child’s ability to cooperate. Positive reinforcement and simple straightforward instructions will usually work out. Parental, playmate or relatives’ dental fears are often either directly or indirectly transmitted to the child. Tell-Show-Do is a technique almost universal in pediatric dentistry. Using words that do not provoke fear, or a demonstration on the doctor’s finger/hand and then the child’s will usually do the trick. Parents who use going to the dentist as a threat to the child also are doing no one a favor. We want to do our best to set up a positive and pleasant experience for your child. We often hear from anxious parents that their child “will not sit still”, or” I cannot get into their mouth to brush their teeth” or other such statements. When the child has successfully completed their visit, frequently we hear how surprised the parent is at how well their child has cooperated for their dental care. If a child knows the parent is right there and will “rescue” them from the situation, they may fuss and carry on all the more. Please allow us to redirect the child’s focus to the task at hand, getting an exam and a cleaning done or necessary treatment accomplished. If we feel that there are issues that cannot be addressed in the office such as a child who becomes hysterical for no good reason, perhaps in consultation with you and your pediatrician, a premedication may be prescribed to allow them to tolerate the experience with less stress. We also have Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) available to help allay a child’s anxiety. Finally, depending on the amount of work necessary, the child’s age and ability to cooperate, we may recommend a different venue (Lutheran General Children’s Hospital Ambulatory Surgery or the Golf Surgicenter). Both facilities utilize Pediatric Anesthesiologists. At this age we will usually take four dental x-rays. The anterior films will likely not be repeated unless there is some trauma or crowding found, the bitewing x-rays will usually be done once per year. The enamel on primary molars in particular is very thin (1/2 to 1 mm thick), and the crystalline structure somewhat different that permanent molars (3-4 mm thick), so much more susceptible to dental decay. Thus our emphasis on flossing baby teeth!!

Orthodontic Needs

As the child grows we will also be looking at crowding, interceptive orthodontics (mitigating or resolving a problem before it becomes a major orthodontic one), and guidance of the eruption of the permanent teeth, possibly be removing primary teeth early or narrowing primary teeth (also to mitigate or resolve crowding issues) and of course future comprehensive orthodontic care at an optimum time. This evaluation may include a panoramic dental x-ray which will show us the entire oral cavity and supporting structures on one film. This film may be repeated when the child is in mid to late teens to check for the status of the developing wisdom teeth.

Special Needs

Pediatric dentists historically have cared for special needs patients. Because of their significant training treating all types of patients including doing restorative dentistry in a hospital setting they are well prepared to handle mentally and physically compromised patients. Dr. Kenney’s oldest patient is a Down Syndrome in his mid-40’s. We are used to treating patients confined to motorized wheelchairs, and have a Nomad hand held dental x-ray unit to facilitate our diagnosis. If it is necessary to treat a special needs patient under a general anesthetic, Dr. Kenney can utilize Lutheran General Outpatient Surgery or the Golf Surgicenter. Both utilize pediatric subspecialty anesthesiologists.

As a pediatric dentist Dr. Kenney spent about 25% of his postgraduate training sitting next to orthodontic graduate students, studying growth and development, to learn how to guide the developing primary and permanent dentition, and what to do to put the teeth into as good a position as possible. This is why it is so important to continue with dental care with a pediatric dentist at least thru comprehensive orthodontic care. Sometimes your general dentist may suggest that it is not necessary to continue with a pediatric dentist care once a child is 5-6 years of age. Would you as easily switch your child to a GP physician rather than taking your child to your pediatrician? We routinely see children thru college age.

Referrals: Dr. Kenney has been in practice for many years and has developed professional relationships with many specialists (Orthodontics, Periodontics, Endodontics, Oral Surgery, and Pediatric Otolaryngology) throughout the City and Northwest Suburbs. If your child’s long term oral health will benefit from consultation or treatment by another specialist, you will be so advised and the referral made.

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Dr. John Kenney
101 S. Washington Avenue   ♦   Park Ridge, Illinois  60068
(847) 698-2088   fax (847) 698-2091

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